How to Train Your Dog to Leave It

Medium
2-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

'Leave it' is a basic and necessary obedience command. This is one you will use while on walks to keep your dog from being distracted. You can also use ‘leave it’ at home when your dog is counter surfing or has decided your shoes are his best chew toy. This command could save your dog’s life. Use ‘leave it’ to teach your dog not to go near something dangerous, bother something like a wild animal who could cause harm, or eat something that could cause illness. Most likely, this command will be used in your home to keep your dog’s curiosity in check. Use ‘leave it’ anytime you want your dog to step away from and keep his nose from something. From items which are not toys to foods you will not want your dog to eat, ’leave it’ is an essential command. Teach your dog to leave other animals alone on walks as well as the sleeping baby in your house with the ‘leave it’ command.

Defining Tasks

Training the 'leave it' command is a bit more advanced than basic obedience commands, but if your dog knows the basic commands, this one won’t be difficult. Be sure he knows all the basics before working on ‘leave it.’ You may require your dog to sit on command if he is on a walk and you need to use ‘leave it.’ You can teach a dog at any age to leave it. This command is important because your dog will be curious and depend on you to tell him what is acceptable to eat, sniff, and play with and what is not acceptable. Be ready for some short repetitive training sessions to teach ‘leave it.’ And have your dog in different situations as he learns the command so he knows this is used for many scenarios. 

Getting Started

To train ‘leave it,’ you’ll need treats, time, and patience. Plan short sessions to keep your dog’s interest. You may want to include items you don’t want your dog to have once he has learned the command. Practice ‘leave it’ once your dog understands basic commands. 

The Play with Temptation Method

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Step
1
Tempt
Hide a treat in your closed fist and let your dog sniff it.
Step
2
Command
When your dog sniffs your hand to find the treat, say the command “leave it.”
Step
3
Focus
When your dog diverts his attention from the hidden treat, reward him with a different treat from your other hand. Offer verbal praise as well.
Step
4
Challenge
Practice these steps a few times. Once he has it done with the treat hidden in your hand, move the treat with your hand on the floor. When your dog sniffs your hands to try to get to the treat, use the command ‘leave it.’
Step
5
Practice
Use the ‘leave it’ command every time your dog shows interest in the hidden treat while training.
Step
6
Reward
Give your dog a treat each time he obeys and leaves the hidden treat alone.
Step
7
Other objects
Once your dog understands the command, begin to use other objects to entice him. Repeat the steps above to teach him to leave other items alone as well.
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The Clicker Training Method

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Step
1
Hidden treat
Hide some treats in your hands.
Step
2
Sniff
Allow your dog to sniff your hand and the hidden the treat, but leave your hand closed.
Step
3
Command
As soon as your dog sniffs your hand, say the command ‘leave it.’
Step
4
Acknowledgement
As soon as your dog acknowledges the command by looking at you, click and treat. You are rewarding him for diverting his attention from the hidden treat in your hand and praising him with the sound of a click and a treat from your other hand.
Step
5
Practice
Practice with hidden treats a few times clicking and treating every time your dog's attention moves away from the treat and onto you.
Step
6
Leave It
Use 'leave it' every time you want your dog to stop sniffing, observing, exploring, or eating something. Be sure to click and treat every time you get your dog's attention away from an activity he should not be doing.
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The Catch in the Act Method

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Step
1
Behavior
Watch your dog closely and catch him acting curious around something you don't want him to explore.
Step
2
Command
Say your dog's name and use the command to leave it.
Step
3
Acknowledgement
When your dog looks up at you and takes his attention away from what he should not be doing, give him a treat and verbal phrase.
Step
4
Set up scenarios
Take your dog on walks where he will become distracted and use the command 'leave it' every time his attention is diverted from you. Set up items in your house your dog will be curious about so you can use the command to leave it.
Step
5
Treat
Be sure to treat your dog every time you get his attention when you use the command.
Step
6
Practice
Practice these steps every time you see your dog sniffing or exploring something he should not be.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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